FutureTruck challenges teams of engineering students from 15 top North American universities to re-engineer 2002 Ford Explorers to reduce emissions and achieve at least a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy.Managed by the Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Transportation Research and led by Ford Motor Co. and the U.S.Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, FutureTruck helps develop hundreds of highly skilled engineers. The competition builds the students' awareness of fuel-saving technologies and prepares them to lead the auto industry in the 21st Century.
After months of work, the teams took their vehicles to Ford's Michigan Proving Ground in Romeo, Michigan, on June 15 and 16 for a comprehensive safety evaluation, and a battery of static and dynamic testing.
The Visteon Award was created specifically to evaluate the innovative application of electrical systems and electronics in the vehicles. A team of judges, including Visteon engineers Tom Gioia, Greg Gumkowski and John Quigley, as well as Randy Visintainer and Prasad Prasad of Ford, selected the University of Tennessee team after inspecting the vehicles and questioning the teams over the last two days. Penn State University finished second and the University of Wisconsin came in third.
The judges used a variety of criteria. Among these were marketability, originality, ease-of-use, the cost of electronics compared to the improvement in fuel economy, ability to diagnose things gone wrong and efficiency of design and minimal use of wires.